Friday, June 25, 2010

Moving On Again

I see theres still a trickle of people accessing the Fes Blog no doubt to ascertain what is happening at Dar Mernissi and Fes in general. Well much as would like to regale you with medina musings and Mernissi updates, I vacated Morocco over 2 years ago for the West Coast of Spain.

I still have the brick addiction or craving to buy and renovate that I had in Morocco but it has taken time to find my latest acquisition. The picture on this page is the result of 18 months research on the internet for a best value property. It is a 100 year old Cortijo or farmhouse in Almeria, already 2/3 renovated but scope for improvement and to put in some stylish finishing touches. I bought it last November 2009 for 60,000 euros and have just received permissions to renovate so if you want to follow my progress check out . Of course if you are on this site to find out about all things Moroccan you cant go far wrong by clicking on

Whatever you decide have a nice day, whether I see you at the other blog or not I have bricks to demolish and patios to lay.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hello Again....long time no see

Yes its me again the wandering gypsy, feeling I have to put an update on here due to the numerous people contacting through blog and website for requests to come and stay in Fes. Well folks that would be quite difficult as I sold the Mernissi House last July to an American fellow who rented it out to a S.African family for private use. As to why I sold it well that is slightly complicated and personal but the fact that there was a forthcoming credit crunch which I strangely intuitively felt in my bones was one small reason. To have all my eggs in one basket, so to speak,made me feel slightly uncomfortable. To have various homes in various countries would have seemed ideal a few years back but then again in this present time I might have been feeling the pinch...ouch.

So I have undebted myself and squirrelled my money away in what I hope is a safe haven to watch and learn what is unfolding in this weird and wonderful world of ours. Although looking at the financial and economic malaise out there I think maybe one of those adjectives could be defunct for the time being at least. At least I am ensconced in what I consider one of Spains prettiest pueblos in Vejer de la Frontera, my base for the last few months and though not immune from the crisis, what a horrible word, its a gorgeous sanctuary. As you watch the sun go down over the Atlantic on a balmy Sunday evening at Cartero beach bar, whilst inside a cool funk band chugs out the beats while some of the local girls in Carnival mode kick up their heels in full Can-Can mode, its hard not to smile and be happy. PS Jane and the Can Can girls available for hire, weddings, barmitzvahs and gigs at reasonable rates. Would cause a stir in Fes!!

So there you have it, for those worrying, fretting about our greedy little world and the unholy mess unfolding find your own little sanctuary within it, lifes too short. Gordon Gekko said greed is good and it became a mantra for the past few decades, well the chickens have come home to roost unfortunately so lets get back to basics.

Me, I'm writing a book and thinking of various ways to cook roosting chickens......badaboom ...I'll get my coat!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Signing Off

Its now the 24th and its been a whirlwind of activity around Mernissi maison. As I mentioned the house has been sold due to my feeling that all eggs in one basket, as is the case for me and several others in the Medina can be counter productive. The house is beautiful but has absorbed a lot of money and I feel that spreading monies over smaller projects would be sensible in the long run as people always want small houses in the present crunch climate whereas the bigger ones could lanquish on the market for years. In the Medina house sales have dried up as Europeans keep a tight hold on their purse strings.

I did not honestly expect the house to be sold so quickly although like me the people who bought instantly fell in love with the quirky layout and negotiations were rapid and concluded in a matter of hours. The past week has been a blur of packing and worrying in equal measure. Luckily I am moving just up the road to a friends apartment with worldly goods until all the business is concluded and I can take stock of next moves.

What will that move be well hard to say really with the current housing situation worldwide you need to be cautious and pragmatic. In Fes there are smaller projects worth considering but I would also like to dip a toe back into Europe, Spain or Portugal so that I have a European base also. It might be wise to sit and wait a bit and see how the land lies so to speak over the coming months.

Several friends are well into their various projects coming up against familiar hurdles and overcoming them in their own sweet way. For some it is a lengthy and costly experience as work goes over time and budget and their ideas and dreams change then voila they have the finished project in front of them. Each could follow Susannah Clarkes route and write a book about their experience and all would be fascinating and individual regarding the trials and tribulations they have gone through. Its never easy but it is a journey that has an end and ultimately your reward is the knowledge you have gained on route and the pleasure in saving an old slice of history and putting your own personal stamp on it. For those who are considering taking the plunge, come on in the waters lovely but don't stray too far into the deep end.

Friday, June 06, 2008

What a long strange trip

When I take a break I really take a break to get mind, body and soul in order. If you live here or are planning to you will soon realise how necessary this is for your sanity. I have heard of a certain guest house couple who much prefer oyster eating at Oualidia to the rigours of day to day guest maintenance and who I am to say thats not such a bad balance.

Anyway back to me and over the last few weeks have been in Spain to lovely Vejer followed by feet up and Mums home cooking in Norwich before my old mate and business partner Tony whisked me off for two weeks in Phuket. Certainly appreciated the stunning beaches, bountiful food at roughly £1 a plate whilst Tony appreciated the fine art of conversation with several of the bar girls, who laughed in all the right places whilst understanding nothing, not that he cared.

Back at the fort in Dar Mernissi Ben was looking after various friends and family visiting and reported back every detail, he is a real treasure and also now a good friend and expectant father. One of the reasons for taking the break was to allow Ben and Sina time and space to have the baby without me getting in the way, babies are not my business, well not at his point in time anyway.

Enough gossip I hear you say where is the nitty gritty info, the lowdown, the real deal, well its coming. For some time now my creative juices have been drying up as this projects renovation came to a close and we furnished it and filled it with many interesting friends. This is not the same as getting your mitts dirty and watching something take shape before your eyes albeit with a helluva lot of pain balanced by gain in the long run. What I am getting at is I wanted to sell the old girl Mernissi so someone else can take it forward whilst I would like to take on smaller funkier projects because of cause I love the stress...not. Also it would make a tidy profit and in these credit crunch days cash is king folks ,not mortgaged up to the hilt and panicking about losing your house or the cost of oil and eggs.

So I thought I would test the somewhat stagnant waters of the property market here as all housebuying and selling has dried up dramatically this year. Hoping to make a profit for my endeavours of course I was also more interested in selling to people who would enhance what I have done here. I have always seen my role in the renovation here as a mercy mission to save a dilapidated home that had been neglected for over 50 years and I consider it has been a success and given lots of people including myself huge pleasure. But I need to move on to new adventures and challenges within this great country and elsewhere, being a somewhat restless Sagitarian Soul this is what rocks my boat so to speak.

So anyway it is now sold, as from today inshallah, it all happened tout sweet (sic) as a family took one look and fell in love with it, of course, and have now freed my little brain up to look at funky opportunities here there and wherever.....I'll let you know!!

Friday, May 02, 2008


The blog will be on holiday along with its writer namely myself for a month as I rest up in England for the month of May. There might be the odd message from time to time but for new readers there are 150 or so pages of previous entries to amuse themselves.

As always life in Fes goes on at its own peculiar pace and you can always check on the daily or weekly happenings on the View from Fes website.

On my return there will be an announcement of some importance that I wish to share with you all regarding future plans and committments so bear with me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Norwich Gal

They keep popping over to see what I'm up to these Norwich gals and heres another in the form of compadre Cosmopolitan Kate. I've known Kate for over eighteen years and about eleven years ago we flew to Palma, Majorca as she wanted to escape the confines and limitations of Norridge, England. She wanted to broaden her mind and her horizons and I suggested working on yachts as with her cool stylish demeanour and catering background I thought she would fit right in. And she did.

I spotted a boat I used to work on and they invited us on board as honourary guests and within two shakes of a lambs tale she was working on it as stewardess and steaming across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Now this sort of lifestyle can suck you in and soon Kate was circling the globe, Pacific, Caribbean and Mediterannean working herself up the yachting ladder. After leaving the bateaux she took herself off to the other side of the globe to New Zealand and for seven years ran a fantastic Art Deco restaurant in Whangerai, I believe, with her top rated chef boyfriend.

Alas all dreams can fall flat eventually as the couple split up and Kate rejoined her former yacht as if she had never been away. She took the time out from her hectic schedule on her present yacht which she refers to as a floating caravan to come pay Fes a visit and see the ole house here.
Impressed by Fes she wasted no time stocking up on rugs and scarfs for her future abode wherever that may be, lets hope its not too far away.